AVON PARK, Fla. – Feb. 27, 2019 – South Florida State College’s (SFSC) Dental Hygiene and Dental Assisting programs recently were granted continuing accreditation from the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Continuing CODA accreditation has been granted for seven years—through 2025. The Dental Hygiene program was initially granted accreditation in January 2005, and the Dental Assisting program was accredited in July 2004. SFSC launched its Dental Hygiene program in 2002 and its Dental Assisting program in 2003.

This continuing accreditation comes as a result of an intense, three-day visit to SFSC in June 2018 by four CODA site visitors. CODA is nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the sole agency to accredit dental education programs conducted at the postsecondary level.

Notification of SFSC’s Dental Education programs’ continuing accreditation came to Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC president, in a letter from Michelle Smith, manager of allied dental education at CODA, congratulating the College on its achievement—the CODA visiting committee had no recommendations. In other words, SFSC had met or exceeded the minimum standards required by the accrediting institution.

“This is the first time both programs have been reviewed during the same visit,” said Dr. Michele Heston, dean of health sciences at SFSC. “The site visitors presented their results and were pleased to state that there were no findings. They praised the program chair, the faculty, and the College’s support of the program, citing it was an ‘excellent program with stellar facilities.’”

 “SFSC’s curriculum is as good as or better than any allied dental program in the country,” said Dr. Deborah Milliken, chair of dental education at SFSC. “That’s because of the faculty at SFSC who developed it.”

CODA considers a total of 12 standards and over 600 criteria for both dental programs. It assesses administration of the programs, financial support for the programs, curriculum, credentials of the faculty and their course loads, computer access, classroom setups for lectures, library resources, lab and clinic facilities, equipment, and entry-level competencies that students must pass.

“CODA accreditation means that SFSC’s graduates are among an elite group of dental professionals in the country and that this program trains the students to that level and expertise,” Dr. Milliken said. “For our dental hygiene students, it means that they are eligible to take the licensure examination in Florida and in all states, for that matter. Only CODA-accredited program graduates are eligible for licensure. This accreditation means that dental assisting students are eligible for the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) designation upon passing Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) and occupational certificate completion. Otherwise, they would have to wait two years, and practice, before they are eligible.”

“We are proud of Dr. Milliken and her team,” Dr. Heston said. “The collaborative spirit of SFSC is illuminated during such visits. From the grounds crew to the faculty to the senior administrators, all team members play an important role in the success of our Health Science programs and students.”

SFSC currently offers a two-year Associate in Science in Dental Hygiene and an 11-month Dental Assistant Occupational Certificate. These Dental Education programs are among several Health Science programs offered by SFSC and include nursing, radiography, paramedic, and emergency medical technician.

For more information about Health Science programs, call 863-784-7027, email healthsciences@southflorida.edu, or visit southflorida.edu.